The levels of disengagement in the workplace are growing fast. Some blame it to technology, newer people generations, an increase on stress levels, growth in job complexity or the perceived need to know everything instantly. This lack of engagement negatively impacts productivity, creativity, and profitability. What can leaders do to correct this startling concern effectively? In this article, I describe how leaders can make personal interactions and decisions to raise employee engagement conclusively.
The primary goal of positive psychology is to help people prosper and become happier. Below are eight techniques to help you become a positive leader and provide a working environment where your staff can be enthusiastic, passionate, hard-working and loyal.
1. Be Respectful
Apply the Golden Rule and treat employees, even those in the lower ranks, as palpable persons, not robots or a number. Acknowledge that people have emotions by acting and responding appropriately using the principles of emotional intelligence.
2. Be Thankful
People want approval and appreciation. Therefore, look for opportunities to say thank you in person for a job well done. By showing gratitude, you will encourage the individual to repeat the positive behavior.
Having regular communication with employees is critical. In addition to talking to your direct reports, you need to address your whole organization in person or video-conference at least quarterly. Routinely, though verbal and written communication, explain the vision, mission, and goals to ensure everyone works in alignment. Use words of encouragement to help them reach their full potential.
4. Focus on Strengths
Recognize that each person has a different set of strengths and weaknesses. Then focus on the strengths of each staff member, and they will be able to maintain high energy levels, grow their skills, and achieve peak performance. On the contrary, if you emphasize their weaknesses, they would feel defeated, sometimes to the point to not even try. As Matthew Kelly said, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
5. Challenge and Coach
Positive leaders challenge their employees to work on bigger and more complex projects. At the same time, these leaders coach their team on how they can use and continue to improve their strengths. Don’t hesitate to bring a vendor or a consultant to provide specialized training, such as “Managing Change,” “Customer Service,” or “Cybersecurity.”
6. Make Meaning
Employees perform better when they see meaning in their job. They are happier when their actions are based on their choices and have a higher purpose. Therefore, help employees find a greater purpose at work. For example, developers working on a mobile app for cancer patients will be more energized and engaged when they see themselves saving lives rather than just writing code.
7. Be Enthusiastic
Enthusiasm is contagious. Hence, have fun, provide a pleasant working environment, and invite employees to have a superb time. Whenever possible, give them the opportunity to work on things that they love to do. Remember that companies such as Google and 3M give their employees permission to use 20% of their working time to focus on fun, passion-driven projects. As a result, they invented Post-It Notes and Gmail. You might also want to read this excellent book, “Fish: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results.”
8. Show Involvement
Get involved on critical projects and important issues. When necessary, roll up your sleeves and engage in problem-solving. These behaviors inspire employees to follow your example and utilize their skills to benefit the company.
Start applying a few of the above tools to have more rewarding personal interactions and make compelling decisions. This way you will conclusively raise employee engagement. You will substantially increase productivity, creativity and profitability while helping employees prosper, and become happier and more enthusiastic, passionate, hard-working and loyal. What other advice can you share? Please write a comment below.
About the Author: Art Torres is an IT Quality Champion and Change Agent in the Finance and Insurance industries. Builds high-performance, customer-centric teams that enable swift completion of strategic projects with zero critical defects; resulting in higher profits and enhanced customer and employee satisfaction. Improves processes by developing and implementing policies and procedures, best practices, standards, and methodologies.